Palm Warbler - Western (Brown)
At Fort De Soto Park, April 2008.
The Palm Warbler (Dendroica palmarum) is a regular but infrequent wintering warbler on the west coast. Most winter in the southeast and the Caribbean Islands. There are 2 pretty distinct subspecies, which I mention because I found the subject confusing (you will too). The Western Palm Warbler, aka Brown Palm Warbler, D.p. palmarum) is so named because it nests across western Canada. It's the subspecies most likely to be seen along the California coast (we saw a breeding plumage specimen at Abbott's Lagoon this spring with Bob Stewart), but most winter in the southeast. The other subspecies is the Yellow Palm Warbler (D.p. hypochrysea), aka Eastern Palm Warbler, which breeds in Eastern Canada. There is little overlap in the breeding areas of these two races. Both have a rufous cap, but in the Western race only the undertail and neck have show strong yellow, as here. The Yellow race has yellow underparts throughout, and winters mostly on the Gulf Coast. The Palm Warbler is a ground-feeding insectivore that wags its tail like a pipit. Closely related to Prairies and Kirtland's Warblers, which also are tail-waggers. See Birds of No. America for details.
Bird above was in a small bush in a shady area, such that shutter speed was 1/60 sec., which is not optimal. But for me any spotting scope shot of a warbler is a success, as they rarely sit still for a photo.
Order: Passeriformes - Perching birds, or Songbirds
Family: Parulidae - Wood-warblers, or North American Wood-warblers, aka "Parulids". About 116 species in 26 genera. 53+ species are seen in North America (Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior).
Genus: Dendroica - 27 species (!), of which 21 are seen in the U.S. Big genus, this. Many are seen here as vagrants (and day now!!), but most are more commonly seen in the Eastern half of the U.S.
Species: Dendroica palmarum - Palm Warbler
Subspecies: Dendroica palmarum palmarum - Western Palm Warbler